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XFL Betting Primer: Championship Odds, Depth Charts & Analysis For All 8 Teams

XFL Betting Primer: Championship Odds, Depth Charts & Analysis For All 8 Teams article feature image

Alika Jenner/Image of Sport via AP

Betting on the XFL? Our crew is here to guide you through what you need to know about all eight teams.

Below you’ll find odds, depth charts and more analysis for every team (ordered by conference).

XFL Championship Odds, Depth Charts & More For Every Team

West: DAL | HOU | LA | SEA
East: DC | NY | STL | TB


Dallas Renegades XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +400

All odds as of Thursday and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

Dallas Renegades Offensive Depth Chart

  • QB: Landry Jones, Philip Nelson, Eric Dungey
  • RB: Cameron Artis-Payne, Marquis Young
  • WR: Jeff Badet, Flynn Nagel, Freddie Martino, Jazz Ferguson, Jerrod Heard, Joshua Crockett
  • TE: Sean Price, Donald Parham, Julian Allen
  • OL: Pace Murphy, Alex Balducci, Maurquice Shakir, Salesi Uhatafe, Willie Beavers, John Keenoy, Justin Evans, Josh Allen, Darius James

Jones suffered a knee injury early in January, and head coach Bob Stoops estimated that he’d return in 4-6 weeks, just around the time of the Renegades’ Feb. 9 opener against the BattleHawks. Reports are that Jones is a game-time decision for Week 1. Nelson, who last year started three games for the San Diego Fleet of the AAF, has dominated reps in Jones’ absence, and he played well in a scrimmage against the Battlehawks, leading three touchdown drives. Dungey, who is a bit banged up himself, hasn’t played since Syracuse.

Missing from the depth chart is running back Lance Dunbar, a former change-of-pace back for the Dallas Cowboys, who was expected to play the same third-down role alongside Artis-Payne, whose last NFL start came in 2016 for the Panthers. Instead, Artis-Payne’s backup is Young, a speedy back who ran for 791 yards his senior year for the Minutemen, who were one of the worst teams in college football.

But it looks like Dunbar is still a Renegade.

Lance Dunbar is on the roster, just not listed on the depth chart. I’m being told by multiple people he’s in the game notes distributed to Dallas media.

— Konnor Fulk (@XFLKonnor) February 6, 2020

Badet is maybe the most talented of the wide receiver group: He logged a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at OU’s Pro Day in 2018. Nagel is an XFL-level Julian Edelman clone who could play a key slot role. Martino has the most NFL experience of the bunch, with 13 receptions for 238 yards in 25 games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ferguson, who made the most noise in training camp, using his 6-foot-6 frame to pull down highlight reel catches, is listed as a backup on the latest depth chart and is nursing a hand injury, which kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. It’s possible his backup listing is based on this injury. Heard is a converted quarterback from the University of Texas and has seen snaps at quarterback this preseason.

Hailing from Stetson, an FCS school I’ve heard described as the “Harvard of South Florida,” Parham is almost too big. Tight ends don’t normally thrive in offensive coordinator Hal Mumme’s air raid, but Parham has the raw talent to succeed. He still has to supplant Sean Price, who was selected in the fourth round of the XFL draft and is listed as the starter. Tony Marquis

Dallas Renegades Defensive Depth Chart

  • DE: Frank Alexander, Winston Craig, Tony Guerad
  • DT: Gelen Robinson, Tomasi Laulile,
  • LB: Hau’oli Kikaha, Ray Ray Davison, Greer Martini, Johnathan Calvin, Reshard Cliett, James Folston, Asantay Brown, Tegray Scales, Tobenna Okeke, Tre Watson
  • CB: Josh Hawkins, Terston Decoud, Donatello Brown, Josh Thornton
  • S: Deron Smith, Tenny Adewusi, Micah Abernathy, Doyin Jebowu

Perhaps the most talented unit in the league, the Dallas defense features several players with NFL experience, such as former Carolina Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander and former Green Bay Packers cornerback Josh Hawkins.

The Renegades linebacking group is deep and may include one of the league’s best players in Kikaha, who was picked in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. Two ankle injuries and an ACL tear derailed his promising NFL career, but if he’s healthy, he could produce.

At safety, Smith, a former sixth-round Cincinnati Bengals draft choice who saw action in 38 NFL games, has impressed defensive coordinator Chris Woods with his playmaking ability. — Marquis

Dallas Renegades Pick

Pick: Stay Away

Betting the favorite seems to be the worst strategy in a league with nothing to go on. This team has promise, but I’m not betting on it. — Marquis

Houston Roughnecks XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +900

Houston Roughnecks Offensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • QB: P.J. Walker, Connor Cook
  • RB: Andre Williams, De’Angelo Henderson
  • WR: Sammie Coates, Sam Mobley
  • WR: Kahlil Lewis, Raymond Bolden
  • WR: Cam Phillips, Blake Jackson
  • WR: Nick Holley
  • TE: None
  • LT: Terry Poole
  • LG: Sebastian Tretola, Isame Faciane
  • C: Tejan Koroma, Demetrius Rhaney
  • RG: Avery Gennesy, Demetrius Rhaney
  • RT: Kelvin Palmer, Marquez Tucker

Houston isn’t being shown much respect from bookmakers, but this Roughnecks team offers sneaky upside in the West. Walker was recently named the starting quarterback over Cook and gives them a legitimate dual threat at the position. His combination of speed and downfield passing will be hard for defenses to scheme against. He tore up the AAC in college and still is the all-time leader for the Temple Owls in passing yards, passing touchdowns, total yards and total touchdowns. Cook will come in as one of the better backups in the league if Walker struggles.

At running back, the Roughnecks will roll out the duo of Williams and Henderson. Williams rushed for 2,177 yards in his senior season at Boston College and finished as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Although he struggled in the NFL, he will likely handle early down and goal-line work. While Williams isn’t much of a receiver, he’ll have a strong pass-catching complement in Henderson, who averaged 9.5 yards per reception in college at Coastal Carolina. I expect head coach June Jones to get Henderson involved in what should be a pass-happy attack.

At wide receiver, Coates leads what should be a strong receiving squad. During the 2016 season with the Steelers, Coates emerged as a legitimate big play threat for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. While his NFL prospects have diminished, it’s easy to forget that he’s only 26 years old. Lewis looks likely to play in the WR2 role after the Roughnecks lost Jalen Saunders to the injured reserve. Lewis has already shown he can make big plays in this league, connecting on a 55-yard touchdown with Cook in their last scrimmage. He was a touchdown magnet in college, scoring 21 times on only 168 targets. Given that the Rednecks don’t have a tight end, Henderson, Coates and Saunders will garner the majority of targets. Mike Vitanza

Houston Roughnecks Defensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • DE: Gabe Wright, Kony Ealy, Greg Gilmore
  • NG: Walter Palmore, Nick James
  • DE: Cashaud Lyons, Corey Crawford
  • OLB: Edmond Robinson, Carl Bradford
  • LB: DeMarquis Gates, Ty Schwab
  • LB: Beniquez Brown
  • OLB: Kaelin Burnett, LeTroy Lewis
  • CB: Jeremiah Johnson, Deji Olatoye, Charles James III
  • CB: Ajene Harris, Savion Smith
  • SS: Deatrick Nichols, Cody Brown
  • FS: Corrion Ballard, Marqueston Huff

The Roughnecks have arguably the most talented defensive player in the XFL in Ealy, and although he’s listed as just the No. 3 defensive end, he’s likely to see regular action as a pass rusher. After earning an All-Rookie nod in 2014 for the Carolina Panthers, Ealy went on to become a serious playmaker for the team in 2015-16. He has the ability to get after the quarterback and cause nightmares in the backfield and could dominate in the XFL.

At 6-foot-8 and 280 pounds, Crawford could also be a difference maker on the interior for the Roughnecks. He underwhelmed at Clemson, but he has the physical tools to disrupt. This line is the strength of the defense.

The Roughnecks also boast an above-average secondary. Olatoye had a 76.8 coverage rating last season in the AAF (per Pro Football Focus), good for a top-five mark. Huff was known for making big plays at Wyoming and provides upside for this squad. This might be one of the league’s stronger defensive units. — Vitanza

Houston Roughnecks Pick

Pick: +900 to Win the Championship

While they do play in the West, which is likely to be the tougher division, the Roughnecks have the talent to make a run this season. Caesars released win totals for the XFL a couple of weeks ago, giving the Roughnecks a total of 6.0, which tied them for No. 2 with the Dallas Renegades. But in the futures market, most sportsbooks have the Renegades at +400 odds to win the championship, which suggests that the Roughnecks are discounted.

At these odds, there should also be plenty of room to hedge (if you choose) and lock in a profit if they win a playoff spot. There is simply way too much value here to pass up taking them at +900.

Note: the lines for this bet swing wildly from book to book (anywhere from +600 to +900), so make sure to take it on FanDuel before the lines adjust. — Vitanza

[Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Los Angeles Wildcats XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +650

Los Angeles Wildcats Offensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • QB: Josh Johnson, Chad Kanoff, Jalen McClendon
  • RB: Elijah Hood, Dujuan Harris, Larry Rose, Martez Carter
  • WR: Jordan Smallwood, Tre McBride
  • WR: Adonis Jennings, Saeed Blackwell
  • WR: Nelson Spruce, Jalen Greene, Kermit Whitfield
  • TE: Brandon Barnes, De’Quan Hampton
  • LT: Storm Norton, Tyler Roemer
  • LG: Fred Lauina, Kahlil McKenzie
  • C: Patrick Vahe
  • RG: Nico Siragua, Dwayen Wallace
  • RT: Jaelin Robinson, Lene Maiava

The Wildcats are led by Johnson, a nine-year NFL veteran, but an undisclosed injury this week in practice has him listed as a game-time decision for Week 1. In his prime, Johnson was a dual-threat option on the ground and through the air, averaging 5.8 yards per carry as recently as 2018. At 33 years old, he’s probably starting to slow down as a runner, but if he can keep defenses honest with his legs, he’ll open up running lanes for Hood.

Expected to serve in a bell-cow role, Hood is a physical, downhill runner who should find success behind a solid offensive line. He was a top running back prospect out of high school and had two strong seasons at North Carolina, including a 1,534-yard, 17-touchdown sophomore year, and in his final college season he had a respectable 25 receptions. At 230 pounds, he’s a lock to see work in early down and goal-line situations.

Smallwood tops the depth chart at wide receiver, a bit of a surprise given his lack of experience at both the college and pro levels. He played sparingly in one season at Oklahoma and has since bounced around on NFL practice squads. Joining Smallwood in the starting three are Jennings and Spruce, the latter of whom should do well in the slot in a pass-happy attack. Last year in the AAF, he had a 73.1 Pro Football Focus receiver grade, good for No. 6 in the league. McBride figures to rotate in as a legitimate downfield threat for Johnson. I would not be surprised to see McBride eventually supplant Smallwood or Jennings in the starting lineup. — Vitanza

Los Angeles Wildcats Defensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • LE: Boogie Roberts, Shawn Oakman, Devin Taylor
  • Nose: Roderick Henderson, Montori Hughes
  • RE: Latarius Brady, Trevon Sanders
  • ROLB: Willie Mays, Cedric Reed
  • LOLB: Anthony Johnson
  • MLB: Tre Williams, Taiwan Jones
  • WLB: Will Smith, Quentin Gause
  • CB: Jaylen Dunlap, Mike Stevens
  • CB: Harlan Miller, Arrion Springs, Roman Tatum
  • S: Jack Tocho, Ladarius Wiley, Jerome Couplin
  • S: Ahmad Dixon, Mar’Sean Diggs

Led by Williams at middle linebacker, the Wildcats enter the season with high expectations for their defense, especially since head coach Winston Moss, a former linebacker himself, spent 13 seasons as the Packers LB coach.

The Wildcats invested two of their first three picks on the front seven. Johnson would have been a high-round draft pick in the NFL had injuries not derailed his college career, but when healthy he has a penchant for wreaking havoc.

Further bolstering the defensive front, the Wildcats also recently brought back Oakman (after cutting him earlier in the preseason). He fell out of favor with NFL scouts due to off-the-field issues, but he was considered a first-round talent in early 2016. Overall, this is a solid unit that has the potential to finish the year as the No. 1 overall defense. — Vitanza

Los Angeles Wildcats Pick

Pick: Stay Away

A couple of weeks ago, Caesars posted a win total of 4.0 for the Wildcats, and at that number, I liked the over. Given their promising offense and talented defense, they seem likely to finish no worse than a mediocre 5-5.

But the win totals have been taken off the board, and I don’t like them enough in the futures market to bite. — Vitanza

Seattle Dragons XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +1200

Seattle Dragons Offensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • QB: Brandon Silvers, B.J. Daniels
  • RB: Ja’Quan Gardner, Kenneth Farrow, Trey Williams
  • WR: Kasen Williams, Austin Proehl, Keenan Reynolds, Dontez Byrd, John Santiago, Sergio Bailey, Alonzo Moore
  • TE: Colin Jeter, Ben Johnson, Evan Rodriguez, Connor Hamlett, Cameron Clear
  • LT: Isaiah Battle
  • LG: Cyril Richardson, William Campbell
  • C: Dillon Day, Kirk Barron
  • RG: Michael Dunn, Venzell Boulware,
  • RT: Quinterrius Eatmon

The Dragons might have the league’s least impressive passing game. Silvers has been named the starter after a solid college career at Troy and an impressive finish to the AAF season in 2019. In his final three games with the Memphis Express, he averaged over 250 yards with four passing touchdowns to a single interception. The Dragons would be delighted to see that level of production from a player who has spent just six weeks total on an NFL roster.

The problem for Silvers may come with his lack of proven quality at the receiver position. The most exciting player of the group is perhaps Byrd, who averaged 13.1 yards per catch in the AAF, but he had just seven targets. Unfortunately, the Dragons are also lacking recognized playmakers at tight end.

The team’s offensive strength lies at running back, where the Dragons are loaded with players who proved themselves in the collegiate ranks and the AAF. But it’s hard to win via the ground game in today’s football environment, and their success may depend on whether their offensive line can dominate the line of scrimmage. Ben Rolfe

Seattle Dragons Defensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • DE: Jacquies Smith, Stansly Maponga, Praise Martin-Oguike, Marcell Frazier
  • DT: Will Sutton, Anthony Moten, Anthony Johnson, Jordan Thompson, Pasoni Tasini, Taniela Tupou
  • LB: Steven Johnson, Nick Temple, Kyle Quiero, Nyles Morgan, Miles Durrant
  • CB: Channing Stribling, Jeremy Clark, Steve Williams, Johnathan Alston, Mohammed Seisay, Marko Myers
  • S: Jordan Martin, Godwin Igwebuike, Tyson Graham, Santos Ramirez

The defensive side of this roster is a real concern and is perhaps why the Dragons have such long odds to win the XFL championship. They lack difference makers and depth at all three levels of the defense.

Smith has bounced around the NFL and has four forced fumbles, while Maponga has forced two fumbles despite registering just eight NFL tackles. They also have Johnson at linebacker and Williams at corner, both of whom have created turnovers in the NFL.

But outside of those four, the Dragons lack defensive playmakers. — Rolfe

Seattle Dragons Pick

Pick: Stay Away

The futures market accurately represents the team’s talent. Even if Silvers plays well, it is not clear who will be a reliable target for him, and the run game will likely take the Dragons only so far. Defensively, they have some pieces but they lack the upside or the depth of other rosters.

Perhaps they will outperform their talent, but 3-4 wins looks fairly spot on for this roster, and they rightly have the longest odds to win the championship. They offer no value right now, but in the regular season, the Dragons might be an ideal team to bet against, and they also might drive game totals to the under thanks to their run-focused offense. — Rolfe


DC Defenders XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +500

DC Defenders Offensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • QB: Cardale Jones, Tyree Jackson
  • RB: Jhurrel Pressley, Donnel Pumphrey, Khalid Abdullah, Nick Brosette
  • WR: DeAndre Thompkins, Malachi Dupre, Rashad Ross, Tyler Palka, Eli Rogers, Simmie Cobbs, Jalen Rowell,
  • TE: Khari Lee, Derrick Hayward, Donnie Ernsberger
  • LT: De’Ondre Wesley, Logan Tuley-Tillman
  • LG: Dorian Johnson
  • C: John Toth, James O’Hagan
  • RG: Rishard Cook, Chris Brown
  • RT: Malcolm Bunche, Cole Boozer

The Defenders may have two of the most intriguing quarterbacks in the league. Jones is the starter and will look to prove that his championship run with Ohio State was no fluke. Jones has just 11 NFL passes to his name, but he has the raw talent to light up the XFL. Behind him is Jackson, who gained a lot of momentum in the 2019 NFL draft process but ultimately went undrafted. His game needed significant refinement coming out of college, and the XFL is the opportunity for him to show that he has improved, if he can get on the field.

Although the depth chart is in flux, the wide receiver who most stands out is Ross, who dominated last year in the AAF, ranking No. 1 with seven receiving touchdowns and No. 2 with 583 yards receiving. Rogers, a former Steeler with significant NFL experience, offers quality depth at the position.

The Defenders lack recognized talent at tight end, which is concerning given head coach Pep Hamilton’s tendency to lean on the position, but Lee is a guy to watch: He could become a red-zone target with his size.

In the backfield, the Defenders have Pressley, who impressed in spurts in the AAF, and Pumphrey, who has a Super Bowl ring from his time with the Philadelphia Eagles even though he never registered a carry in the NFL. This offense may be one of the more fascinating in the league and has a realistic chance to steamroll opponents if it gets consistent quarterback play. — Rolfe

DC Defenders Defensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • DE: Tracy Sprinkle, Tavaris Barnes, Siupeli Anau
  • NT: Elijah Qualis, Kalani Vakameilamo
  • DT: Jay Bromley, Kenny Bigelow
  • LB: Antwione Williams, A.J. Tarpley, Jameer Thurman, KeShun Freeman, Jonathan Massaquoi,, Scooby Wright, Jonathan Celestin, Sam Montgomery
  • CB: Desmond Lawrence, Elijah Campbell, Bradley Sylve, Doran Grant
  • S: Matt Elam, Carlos Merritt, Shamarko Thomas, Tyree Kinnel, Rahim Moore

The strength of this defense is its safeties. Elam is a former first-round pick of the Ravens, and Thomas was thought of so highly within the Steelers organization that he was the first player Hall-of-Famer Troy Polamalu ever invited to train with him. Both players’ careers have gone downhill since then, but now they form a strong safety duo and have a wealth of NFL experience at their disposal.

The linebacker group also has recognizable names in Tarpley and Williams. Massaquoi has the most experience, but he was also waived by the Dallas Renegades, which is not an ideal start to his XFL career. Even so, this unit could be a stout and deep group.

The defensive line is where the Defenders will look for playmakers to emerge. None of their options look like major disruptors, but we saw in the AAF how quickly a player can make a name for himself rushing the passer. — Rolfe

DC Defenders Pick

Pick: To Win the XFL Championship +700

When you compare the XFL rosters, the Defenders look like a value at +700 odds. Hamilton is an experienced offensive coach who works well with quarterbacks. If he can get Jones to maximize his talent, the Defenders will be extremely hard to stop. They have talented receivers and running backs and a strong defensive spine. They will need to find a pass rusher, but if they do, they could dominate. — Rolfe

[Bet now at BetMGM. NJ only.]

New York Guardians XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +430

New York Guardians Offensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • QB: Matt McGloin, Marquise Williams, Luis Perez
  • RB: Tim Cook, Darius Victor, Justin Stockton, Matthew Colburn
  • WR: Mekale McKay, Austin Duke, Colby Pearson, Teo Redding, Joe Horn Jr., Justice Liggins
  • TE: Jake Powell, Jake Sutherland, E.J. Bibbs, Keenen Brown
  • LT: Jarron Jones, Brant Weiss
  • LG: Anthony Coyle
  • C: Ian Silberman, Damien Mama
  • RG: Garrett Brumfield, Avery Young
  • RT: John Kling

The Guardians have some fascinating offensive pieces, starting with McGloin, who impressed as a walk-on at Penn State but never managed to take the next step in the NFL. After getting a chance in his rookie season, he has done little since, so he looks to get his next opportunity in the XFL.

The receiving group is led by McKay, who impressed last year in the AAF, but after him, there are question marks at wide receiver and tight end. At running back, no single player stands out, and we know from head coach Kevin Gilbride’s time with the Giants that he usually likes to lean on multiple backs. — Rolfe

New York Guardians Defensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • DE: Bunmi Rotimi, Cavon Walker, Charles Wright, Jarrell Owens, Ryan Mueller
  • DT: Joey Mbu, T.J. Barnes, Toby Johnson
  • LB: Ben Heeney, D’Juan Hines, Garrett Dooley, Frank Ginda, Jawuan Johnson, Nick Deluca
  • CB: Jamar Summers, Bryce Jones, Dravon Askew-Henry, Terrence Alexander, Ranthony Texada, Dejuan Neal
  • S: Andrew Soroh, A.J. Hendy, Demetrious Cox, Wesley Sutton

This group is a reasonably big question mark, as very few of the players have more than a modicum of NFL experience. At middle linebacker, Heeney is the most experienced player in the front seven, and even he has just 55 NFL tackles. This unit has a lot to prove. — Rolfe

New York Guardians Pick

Pick: Stay Away

In the futures market, the Guardians have some of the shortest odds to win the championship, but their talent almost certainly doesn’t matchup with the money that’s been bet on them.

For Week 1, they have opened as 2.5-point underdogs at home against the Tampa Bay Vipers, who have longer odds to win the championship at a number of sportsbooks. That says it all. — Rolfe

St. Louis BattleHawks XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +1000

St. Louis BattleHawks Offensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • QB: Jordan Ta’amu, Taylor Heinicke, Nick Fitzgerald
  • RB: Christine Michael, Matt Jones, Keith Ford
  • WR: L’Damian Washington, De’Mornay Pierson-El, Alonzo Russell, Keith Mumphrey, Carlton Agudosi, Brandon Reilly
  • TE: Marcus Lucas, Wes Saxton, Cole Hunt
  • OT: Jake Campos, Matt McCants, Andrew McDonald, Brian Wallace
  • OG: Bruno Reagan, Kent Perkins, Dejon Allen
  • C: Brian Folkerts, Michael Miller

Led by Ta’amu, this St. Louis offense has many question marks going into the season. While Ta’amu was a collegiate star for Mississippi in 2018, throwing for over 3,900 yards and rushing for over 300, he figures to struggle in his first professional campaign. His rushing prowess gives him upside and the ability to extend plays, but his biggest issue will be a lack of reliable receivers to help him stretch the field.

The Battlehawks are led at wide receiver by Washington and Pierson-El, both of whom underwhelm when compared to the other Nos. 1-2 receiver around the league. Outside of one big game, Washington failed to impress last season in the AAF, and Pierson-El is best as a supplementary option. At least he’ll spend most of his time this year in the slot, where he had some AAF success as a chain-moving possession receiver.

The running back unit houses most of the talent in this offense, as Michael and Jones have both had moderate NFL success. Michael was the No. 6 overall pick in the XFL draft just a few months ago, so he figures to be heavily involved. If St. Louis can get consistent play from the offensive line, Michael could be in line for a big season. But I also expect Jones to rotate in, and he might get most of the goal-line work as the bigger back.

Both have proven themselves to be capable receivers over the course of their careers, so I expect each to be involved in the passing game. — Vitanza

St. Louis BattleHawks Defensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • DL: Will Clarke, Casey Sayles, Channing Ward, Andrew Ankrah, Dewayne Hendrix, Davonte Lambert, Jake Payne, Gimel President
  • LB: Terence Garvin, Dexter McCoil, Ro’Derrick Hoskins, Steve Beauharnais, Shaq Jones
  • CB: Darius Hillary, David Rivers, D’Montre Wade, Robert Nelson, Trey Caldwell
  • FS: Kenny Robinson, Harold Jones-Quartey, Ryan White
  • SS: Will Hill, Joe Powell

The strength of this defense is in the secondary, anchored by Robinson and Hill at safety. During his time with the Mountaineers, Robinson was first-team All-Big 12 and near the top of the conference in interceptions and tackles in 2018. Hill also has a strong pedigree, coming out of high school as the top safety recruit in the nation in 2007. He went on to play at a high level at Florida, and from there he spent time with the Giants and Ravens and actually made it to his second contract. In the AAF last year, he garnered an 82.0 overall defensive rating (per Pro Football Focus), good for a top-15 mark.

The Battlehawks will also be strong up the middle with a linebacker group led by Garvin, who was a playmaker in college at West Virginia. After several brief NFL stints, he shined last year in the AAF, ranking top-10 in overall defense at the position, top-five in coverage and also top-five in pass rush. He can impact the game all over the field. — Vitanza

St. Louis BattleHawks Pick

Pick: Stay Away

If this team is to have any chance at making the playoffs this year, it will be because of the defense, but this is an offense-leaning, pass-friendly league, and the BattleHawks almost certainly won’t have the ability to keep up with opponents, especially since they’re best offensive players are running backs.

The BattleHawks have the longest odds to win the championship of any team, and it’s hard to say they don’t deserve the market’s pessimism. — Vitanza

Tampa Bay Vipers XFL Championship Odds

  • Championship Odds: +400

Tampa Bay Vipers Offensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • QB: Aaron Murray, Taylor Cornelius, Quinton Flowers, Chase Litton
  • RB: De’Veon Smith, Jacques Patrick, Mack Brown
  • WR: Daniel Williams, Reece Horn and Jalen Tolliver, Tanner McEvoy, Seantavius Jones, Ryan Davis, Donteea Dye
  • TE: Nick Truesdell, DeAndre Goolsby, Colin Thompson
  • OL: Isaiah Williams, Daronte Bouldin, Jordan McCray, Jerald Foster, Martez Ivey

Murray, of several NFL practice squads and the AAF’s Atlanta Legends, gets another shot at a starting gig. Nothing about Murray is exciting, but head coach Marc Trestman has proven he can get the best out of his quarterbacks.

Smith is fresh off his leading rushing role for the AAF’s Orlando Apollos, but Patrick (Dalvin Cook’s backup at Florida State) is reportedly set for a complementary role. Flowers has also been taking reps at running back, and Trestman has talked him up during training camp. Brown is a former NFL preseason DFS favorite, but he’s No. 3 on the depth chart.

Based on the way Trestman has fed targets to his backs in the past, one of these players is likely to be among the league leaders in running back receptions. It could even be Flowers.

The big surprise from the first depth chart release is Jones’ spot with the second-string receivers. Jones last year was top-five in air yards in the AAF, where he played with Murray. Tolliver has NFL experience and Horn led the AAF’s Memphis Express in receiving yards, but coaches seem to be most impressed with Daniel Williams, a Jackson State product. One of these players is going to step up to play the Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffrey role in this offense.

Truesdell led the AAF in receiving yards for tight ends and was the team’s first-round pick. He figures to be heavily involved and is an all-around mismatch weapon. — Marquis

Tampa Bay Vipers Defensive Depth Chart & Analysis

  • DL: Jason Neill, Josh Banks, Nikita Whitlock, Deiontrez Mount, CeCe Jefferson, Ricky Walker, Bobby Richardson
  • LB: Lucas Wacha and Terrance Plummer, Emmanuel Beal, Reggie Northrup, Anthony Stubbs.
  • CB: Shelton Lewis, Anthoula Kelly, Robert Priester, Marcelis Branch, Micah Hannemann, Jalen Collins, Tarvarus McFadden, Corey Moore, Demontre Hurst, Bryce Canady, Rannell Hall

The Vipers defense is led by Glanville, who is entering his seventh decade of coaching and coming off a short stint as the defensive coordinator for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. After being hired, Glanville opined about the best way to slow down opposing XFL offenses.

Our Defensive Coordinator Jerry Glanville gives you his approach to the Defensive Backfield phase of the #XFLDraft

… in classic Jerry style.

— Tampa Bay Vipers (@XFLVipers) October 16, 2019

In the draft, Tampa Bay picked seven cornerbacks and three safeties, and although most of those players have been cut or relegated to backup roles, the Vipers are still focused on their secondary. Vipers coaches have said they expect to see a lot of four-wide receiver sets in a fast-paced league, so maybe we will see some hockey-type line changes in this 11-member secondary. — Marquis

Tampa Bay Vipers Pick

Pick: +550 To Win the Championship

A couple of weeks ago, Caesars released win totals for the XFL, and although they are no longer on the board, the Vipers had the highest number at 7.5: They clearly have a talented team.

Some books have Tampa Bay among the favorites (Draftkings +450) in the futures market, while others (like BetMGM at +550) list the Vipers in the middle of the pack. If you’re a Trestman truther like me, and you trust that opening win total from Caesars, then there’s some value here. — Marquis

[Bet now at BetMGM. NJ only.]

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